Synagogue’s Bathroom Policy Sign Delights Internet

A sign posted in a synagogue’s restrooms tells people exactly what to do if someone sees someone who doesn’t seem to conform to the gender marker on the door—and a picture of it is going viral.

Posted Sunday by @ETori, the tweet has been retweeted over 3,800 times and received nearly 37,000 likes. Reading “In the restroom of my parent’s synagogue,” the photo shows a printout of the sign.

“We Are Respectful,” the sign says along with nine triangular photos of a diverse group of people. “If you’re in a public washroom and you think someone’s gender does not match the sign on the door, follow these steps,” it continues.

Step one is “Don’t worry about it. They know where they belong.” There are no other steps.

Though @ETori didn’t reveal the name of the synagogue in question, they did say that it was in the midwestern United States in a follow-up tweet.

The sign was originally created by the Gender and Sexual Diversity Committee at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The college posted the sign in bathrooms across campus. The committee explained its reasoning on a website about the sign, saying that every person has the right to use public restrooms without worry.

“People who are trans or gender non-conforming may experience glares, threats, harassment or even violence when simply trying to go pee. Some choose to ‘hold it’. This can have negative consequences for one’s physical and mental health,” the committee wrote.

transgender bathroom sign synagogue twitter etori viral
A sign posted in a synagogue’s restroom telling people what to do if they see a person whose gender doesn’t appear to match that on the bathroom’s sign has gone viral.
Ken Tannenbaum/Getty

Some states have proposed what are colloquially called “bathroom bills,” which seek to ban transgender people from using public restrooms matching their gender identity. However, bills like these have led to consequences against states that have passed them.

In 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2, one of the first “bathroom bills” in the U.S. As a result, the NCAA boycotted the state, refusing to hold championships there. The ban lasted until 2017, when the law was repealed. Had the law stayed in place, North Carolina would have lost $3.76 billion in business by 2028, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Despite the relatively quick repeal of the North Carolina law, other states have tried to pass similar bills. In 2017, Texas’ proposed bill failed to pass after it cost the state over $200 million in bad publicity, according to a report from Texas Competes, a group of business leaders in the state.

Writing for Newsweek, Dallas Ducar, the founding CEO of Transhealth Northampton, shared the danger of transphobia.

“It’s time to act to save our right to self-determination. Everyone has a deep relationship to gender, not just the transgender population. Gender expression involves freely expressing an aspect of one’s identity, be they straight, gay, cisgender, transgender, or anywhere in between. This freedom of expression is written into our Constitution. So it is unsurprising that two-thirds of Americans and majorities within every political ideology and age group oppose these laws,” Ducar wrote.

“The more that we depend only on politicians to discuss the importance of trans rights, the more we risk political polarization around one minority identity. Instead, it is critical to depoliticize gender—to get politicians out of our bathrooms—and to emphasize how self-determination is fundamental to our basic rights—to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Ducar continued.

Most of those who replied to the original tweet backed up the sentiment shared by the sign.

“In other words: Let people live,” @ezreedr wrote.

“Let my people go! To the bathroom,” @EvanGrayM added.

“Omg, I was so ready with full outrage and then…yay!” @tweetersaidwhat replied.

Newsweek reached out to Humber College and @ETori for comment.


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